The Prisoner escapes! and other stories…

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Up and at ’em the following day; the original plan was to go up the hill again, but we decided against it on the grounds of aching limbs and saturated hiking gear – poor Pete had to wear his soggy jeans and boots again, as he hadn’t brought a change! Even with the drying facilities provided by our hosts, that stuff was *not* drying!

In the absence of a climbing plan, and with a marked reluctance to rush back to London, Pete decided that he wanted to visit the location where the old series The Prisoner was filmed, and it turned out to be a stone’s throw from where we were – sweeeet!

And so on to the bizarre village of Port Meirion, which was conceived and built by an architect named Sir Clough Williams-Ellis, between 1925 and 1976, to demonstrate how a naturally beautiful site could be developed without spoiling it. And what a place it is! Colourful in continental style, borrowing architectural features from all over the place, but still green and peaceful and pretty – I would heartily recommend the place to anyone, Prisoner fans or not. They provide accommodation, so you can whisk your beloved away for a naughty weekend…

But it was strange to be touring the place of whose existence I had only just learned – I always thought it was a set! And wandering down to the quayside, I could see the place where the escape sequences were shot, and Patrick McGoohan was engulfed by that big bubble-gum ball thingy… Very strange, but a wonderfully serene experience. All in all, a damn fine weekend.

+++ STOP PRESS +++

Gin Panic‘s new album, Moved By Remote, produced by Dew and packed with poundin’, sweaty, and yet melodic and beautifully crafted rawk, is out now and available from their website: – get it now, while they’re hot. And tell them Al sent you – they might buy me a pint! 🙂

In other news, I had the last of my practical hypnosis assessments, where I had a woman who wanted to deal with her husband’s passive-aggressiveness so that she could get on with her own life – phew! But apparently I passed that one with flying colours. Now just to the final written exam on the 5th of November – hear that sound? It’s me manically chewing my nails…

Then a nice long weekend in Ireland to celebrate my youngest sis Claire’s 18th birthday – one of those rare events where the whole clan appears under the same roof. And a good evening was had by all. For the rest of the time, I loafed about for the most part – I had to have a lazy trip to Ireland just once! No rushing around like a blue-a*sed fly for me this time – oh no. although I ended up being recruited to various tasks, like typing CVs, hanging framed photos, dismantling motorbikes, etc, etc. And yet it all somehow seemed to be relaxing.

Coming back on Ryanair, I vowed never to fly with them again. On the way over, I had a seat whose consistency resembled a 40 year-old sofa with all the foam gone; on the return trip, the seat sagged to the left, and wouldn’t stay in the upright position. Thankfully, my mind was taken off this by the girls sat next to me, who invited me to a game of Shithead that they were playing. And I only managed to lose once, under their careful tutelage. They were in Dublin with a huge posse for a friend’s 21st birthday party, and as I walked through the corridors towards baggage reclaim, I heard some of their friends talking about me: “this bloke sat next to […] was funny, telling the steward about his seat: ‘It won’t stay up!’ – missed a big opportunity for a laugh there, I thought!” – I felt like turning round and saying something, but I left it. 🙂

So now it’s ‘head down, bum up’ as my Aussie chum Kiz would say (always thought that sounded rude, but maybe that’s just my perverted thought process!), while I bone up on all the stuff they’ve been trying to beat into my thick skull over the past 9 months. It would be a savage bummer to get this far and lose on a technicality, wouldn’t it???!! But it’ll all be over in time for my birthday shandy evening (all I can afford at this point!), so I’ll have worked up a thirst by then. Cheers!